Salford Red Devils opened their 2023 season, on Sunday afternoon, with what in the end turned out to be a remarkably close 26-22 winning scoreline in the first of their pre-season friendlies, against traditional local rivals, Swinton, winners last week in a friendly over St Helens reserves, to retain Peter Smethurst Trophy for another season.

The well-known phrase ‘a game of two halves’ was taken to a new level, for, in truth, it was almost a case of two separate games of forty minutes, either side of half time.  The only elements common to both were the opposition, the progressing scoreline, and three first team players, whose game-time straddled the interval.

With the first choice Red Devils taking complete control during the first half, it was always going to be a case as to whether the 26-0 half time lead, which the players from the Reserves inherited to defend for the second stanza, would be sufficient for them to hold out against their well-organised and enthusiastic opponents from the Championship.  That they were successful in doing so was ultimately down to their dogged defensive efforts, which kept the Lions pointless, until the fiftieth minute.

Indeed, it has to be said that they came closer to scoring, a few minutes later, than their opponents had done in the first half, only for the final pass to be ruled as forward.  A try at that moment would have been a real boost for them, and could have led to a less nervy, final few minutes.  In the end it was a single player being in the right place at the right time, which prevented Swinton scoring on the death, by causing Scott Mikalauskas to blow for obstruction.

All of which was in stark contrast with the expected domination of the Salford first team, who opened their account as early as the third minute, with Rhys Williams crossing for a try in the left corner goaled by Mark Sneyd from the touch line.  They then went on to score at almost regular intervals, aided by a good supply of possession, which was assisted, at times, by the Lions’ ill-timed attempts at stealing the ball, none of which went unnoticed by the referee.

Swinton’s best spell of that half was in the second quarter, when they gained rather more possession and were able to test out the home side’s defence.  That this stood firm mid-field consequently prevented the Lions getting too close to become any real threat, and this is a facet of the Reds’ game which will be have to stand much greater tests in the coming weeks and months.

When in possession, the Red Devils showed that they still have the same flair to entertain as they had had in the latter stages of last season, producing some thrilling skilful handling and running, from which the tries flowed.  True there were errors, and that was only to be expected with a small number of debutants in the side, on a cold afternoon, and a slippery ball, but these will diminish as the whole squad gels together and the weather improves.

Their final score, in the 37th minute, was a fine example of how the whole team was keen and capable of keeping the ball alive and supporting one another, with no less than six players inter-passing for Ryan Brierley to finish off with a sixpointer.

The vital half back pairing, which, by the end of last season was probably the best in Super League, was seen to be at the heart of much of the Salford attacking ploys, not least in the run-up to their second try, on 9 mins.  Sneyd’s probing, cross-field run, across the visitors’ line, sucked in the defence and his quick play-the-ball gave Brodie Croft the opportunity to send out a wonderful, long pass which found Ken Sio on the touch line to go in at the corner.

So, an overall enjoyable and successful afternoon for everyone, with Swinton gaining satisfaction from their endeavours throughout, though most evidently in the later stages of the match.  Salford’s first team players gained some invaluable game-time together, while the Reserves had the experience of performing in front of a much larger crowd than they will usually encounter, and against professional opposition.


Salford Red Devils retained the Peter Smethurst Memorial Trophy with a 26-22 victory over Swinton Lions this afternoon.

Paul Rowley’s first-team side were given the first forty minutes to build some valuable match fitness, with Stuart Wilkinson’s reserves side handed a run-out in the second-half.

Wales international, Rhys Williams was the first on the scoresheet for the Red Devils. A quick passing move from the scrum saw Lafai dart into space and flick the ball over to the winger, who acrobatically dived over in the left corner. Marc Sneyd – back on his usual kicking duty – converted from the touchline.

Our number seven was at the heart of our second try. He danced past multiple Swinton players 10 metres out and spotted his halfback partner, Brodie Croft in acres of space. The Aussie flicked the ball out to the Ken Sio, who had the simple task of strolling over unopposed.

The current Man of Steel was reminding everyone just what he’s capable of minutes later; breaking the Swinton line with incredible vision and pace. This time it was Andy Ackers in support to receive and slide under the sticks.

Rowley handed a Red Devils debut to Ellis Longstaff and the 20-year-old showed the supporters exactly what he was capable of with 22 minutes on the clock. After receiving a stinging pass from Croft, the number 20 twisted away from his man and dived over the try-line to open his account.

There was plenty of chopping and changing, but it was our reliable full-back, Ryan Brierley who extended our advantage further just before the hooter.

Salford did really well to keep the ball alive and Croft combined with Sio to send the former racing away down the right. Just when it looked like our number two was about to be crashed out of touch, he found the supporting Brierley with a sublime pass to nudge off his man and slide over to the right of the sticks.

HALF-TIME: Salford Red Devils 26-0 Swinton Lions

After the break, a whole host of changes saw our reserve lads take to the field to test their ability against some stern Betfred Championship opposition.

The visitors started the second forty of on the front foot and allowed trialist, Joe Lowe to throw a dummy pass and go over the line for Swinton’s first points of the game – converted by Dan Abram.

Swinton scored again minutes later with some simple, yet effective passing down the right edge for Anthony Dyne to slide over in the corner.

Salford’s new number 30, Billy Walkley chased back on 60 minutes to make an excellent try saving tackle. However, his joy was short-lived when Swinton’s Gavin Bennon crashed over the line on the next tackle.

The momentum was purely in Swinton’s favour, as a huge break found the visitors, once again, back on Salford’s try line. Some clever and quick play earned them another four points, but time was against them and Salford’s youthful second-half outfit hung on to clinch the victory.

FULL-TIME: Salford Red Devils 26-22 Swinton Lions

A trip to Wigan Warriors in Sam Powell’s testimonial is next up for the Red Devils. They take on Matt Peet’s side on Sunday 5th February and tickets are still available by clicking HERE.

Photo Credit: Steve McCormick


We’re back! Salford Red Devils kick-off their pre-season preparations against Swinton Lions at the Salford Stadium this afternoon.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Paul Rowley’s side in action, but optimism is high ahead of another Betfred Super League season.

With a World Cup squeezed into a jam-packed off-season, the Red Devils saw a record amount of players picked for their respective nations on the back of an excellent season with the Club.

The break also saw the Head Coach and his assistant, Kurt Haggerty both commit their long-term future to the Club, with Krisnan Inu – a former Grand Finalist with Salford – rejoining to become part of the coaching staff.

Recruitment has mostly arrived in forward areas, with Oliver Partington a stand-out addition from Wigan Warriors. Adam Sidlow and Andrew Dixon will don the Red and White for a second stint, with youngsters Ellis Longstaff and Sam Stone also looking to make a positive impact.

Ben Hellewell was the sixth and final player to make a permanent switch to the Club after impressing in his two-week loan spell from Featherstone Rovers back in July 2022.

Before the season really gets started, Rowley will have a chance to assess his squad in the first of two friendly matches. Swinton Lions are the first task; a side they beat 48-12 last January, when Ryan Brierley, Brodie Croft, Deon Cross and Shane Wright all scored their first tries in Red Devils’ colours.

Squad News

As expected, the Head Coach has named a squad packed with first and reserve-team stars for today’s clash. There’s bound to be plenty of rotation throughout the 80 minutes, as the lads try to build vital match fitness.

It also presents a fantastic opportunity for some of our young talent to show the coaching staff their ability. Joe Coope-Franklin and Billy Walkley – two players from our blossoming Welsh pathway – have recently been handed first-team shirt numbers 29 and 30.

Players’ thoughts

After featuring for the Scottish National Team in the 2022 World Cup, Ryan Brierley was forced to have surgery to fix some discomfort in his knee.

His road to recovery has been swift and the full-back says he’s looking forward to getting back out on the pitch and building some vital match fitness.

“I feel like it’s been good,” Brierley said, “I’ve done a lot of work over the Christmas period. The boys got a bit of time off, but I knew I needed to catch up on a lot of work that’s been done.

“It’s feeling okay. Again, I think with anything I don’t think anyone will be feeling 100% tomorrow when that whistle goes, so we’ll soon find out, but in terms of all the box ticking, that’s all been done.

“The strengths fine and we’ll just see how it reacts after the game – but I’m feeling okay!”

To hear everything our number one had to say before our first friendly of 2023, click the tweet below.

How to buy tickets

You can still join us at the Salford Stadium today. Kick-off is at 1pm and tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE.


Salford Red Devils are facing Swinton Lions at home and Wigan Warriors away in anticipation of our 2023 Betfred Super League campaign.

Both friendly matches will hand Paul Rowley’s men the chance to earn valuable pre-season minutes and allow the Head Coach to assess his squad ahead of the season curtain raiser against Leigh Leopards.

All the relevant ticket information for both fixtures can be found below:

Swinton Lions – Sunday 29th January @ 1pm (Buy HERE)

  • Unreserved Seating in West Stand ONLY.
  • Season tickets are NOT valid.
  • Prices are £10 adults, £5 senior and kids (£20 and £15 in 1873 lounge).
  • Swinton Lions supporters will be sat in W01-W04, with Salford Red Devils supporters in W05-W08.
  • Tickets are currently digital only, with paper tickets to become available in the next two weeks!
  • Disabled tickets must be purchased over the phone or in person at the stadium.


Wigan Warriors – Sunday 5th February @ 3pm (Sam P0well testimonial) (Buy HERE)
  • Unreserved seating in West Stand.
  • Tickets available to buy online or at the stadium.
  • Adults £20, Senior £15, Under 18’s £10.
  • Under 8s are free of charge, but these must be ordered over the phone or in person – as do ambulant disabled tickets.
  • Wheelchair tickets can be purchased via Wigan on: 01942311111.


Salford Red Devils will take on Swinton Lions at the Salford Stadium on Sunday, January 29th, in our first pre-season friendly of 2023.

The Red Devils last faced Swinton in January 2022, where a new-look Salford earned a hard-fought 48-12 victory during Paul Rowley’s first game in charge.

This particular fixture will kick-off at 1pm, with an array of first-team stars set to gain valuable game time ahead of the Betfred Super League campaign.

This game will also act as the first opportunity for supporters to see some of our new recruits in action.

Adam Sidlow, Ben Hellewell and Andrew Dixon are familiar faces in Red and White, but Oliver Partington, Sam Stone and Ellis Longstaff are three exciting new additions.

The last meeting between the sides was the first time we saw now-Man of Steel, Brodie Croft in action for the Reds, with a number of other first-team regulars also making their full debuts.

Ticket details to follow, so keep your eyes peeled on our social media…


Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce our pre-season fixtures ahead of the 2022 season.

Preparation for the 2022 campaign will begin on Saturday 15th January against Swinton Lions, kick-off at 2 pm, with our Women’s team playing their first-ever game against Swinton Lionesses on the same day, at 11:45 am, in what promises to be an exciting doubleheader at the The Salford Stadium.

On Friday 21st January, Paul Rowley’s men will host Betfred Championship outfit, Halifax Panthers, a team that our head coach represented for six years during his playing career and the side that our new hooker, Amir Bourouh, spent a spell on loan with during the 2021 season. This clash will kick off at 7:30 pm at the The Salford Stadium.

Our last test of pre-season comes in the form of an away trip to The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday 4th February to play Warrington Wolves, kick-off 7:45 pm, in what will be former club captain Lee Mossop’s testimonial game. Tickets are sold through the Warrington Wolves website, Salford Fans should note the seating arrangements for home and away supporters before purchasing.

Tickets are available now for all three of our pre-season fixtures.

Support of Salford Red Devils by purchasing a 2022 season ticket HERE.


Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce that Sam Luckley’s contract has been extended, keeping him at the club until at least the end of the 2022 season.

Luckley, who started his career at Newcastle Thunder, linked up with Salford ahead of the 2021 season and has put in some solid performances in a Red Devils shirt.

The Scotland international spent some time on loan at Betfred Championship side Swinton Lions this season, which was beneficial to his development.

Speaking on his contract extension, Luckley said: “I’m over the moon that the club have decided to extend my stay for another year, I’ve loved every minute of my first season in Super League.

I’ve learnt so much and developed a lot in my game and I believe at this point in time staying at Salford will help me develop further. Despite some of the results from the last season, I believe Salford is a club on the up and I’ll do all I can to help get this club where it needs to be.”

Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease added: “Working along with his agent, keeping Sam at the Red Devils for another year and hopefully for longer is a great move for us as a club and Sam as a player, as we look to develop him further as a player and a person.

He leaves everything on the field every time he plays and has a strong maiden season in Super League. Sam is one of the youngest players in our squad, so he can only get better from here.”

Join Luckley in 2022 by purchasing a Season Ticket at an early bird price. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

Red Devils recruitment is brought to you by Morson.

Talking Points | Salford Red Devils 52-6 Swinton Lions

Following Salford Red Devils’ comfortable victory over Swinton Lions in their first game of 2019, we take a look at some of the talking points from the fixture.
Attacking threat
The Red Devils ran in eleven tries in a controlled performance against Swinton and the attacking skill Ian Watson’s men possess was on show throughout. Junior Sa’u, Greg Johnson and Joey Lussick all profited from the attacking display crossing for braces while there was also another five Red Devils on the scoresheet.
Sa’u and Johnson’s tries all came on the back of some quick hands out wide. However, there was a number of occasions when Salford broke from deep thanks to the likes of Mark Flanagan, Niall Evalds, Jackson Hastings and young debutant Connor Davies-Aspey.
Flanagan – who began at loose-forward but went on to operate as half – linked up well with Evalds on a number of occasions which led to some great Red Devils tries. Hastings went through the line in almost identical fashion to his debut against Leeds Rhinos last year to set up Sa’u’s second try.
If the Red Devils can continue to cause problems from all over the field, we could see some more excellent tries throughout 2019.
Connor Davies-Aspey
Salford Red Devils Academy player Connor Davies-Aspey was awarded a one-month trial earlier this week and he certainly made the most of his opportunity against Swinton with an impressive cameo in the final twenty minutes of the game.
Davies-Aspey came onto the field and managed to make three clean breaks. His break in the final ten minutes put winger Derrell Olpherts over in the corner and he was close to finishing the game with two try-assists however pulled the trigger a second too early on his pass to Jansin Turgut just minutes earlier.
Head Coach Ian Watson praised the young hooker in his post-match press conference saying it ‘was great for young kid to come in and do that’. Read more of Ian Watson’s reaction here.
Davies-Aspey has certainly put himself in contention for a place in the squad next weekend as the Red Devils face current Betfred Super League champions Wigan Warriors in a pre-season friendly at the The Salford Stadium.
Versatility and depth
After the interval, Ian Watson made four changes to the starting side with Greg Johnson and Derrell Olpherts coming onto the field in place of Ed Chamberlain and Jake Bibby. Both Johnson and Olpherts would go on to score in the second half showing the quality of the Red Devils’ options on the wing this season.
In the pack, the likes of Tyrone McCarthy and Ben Nakubuwai entered the fray and made an impact following impressive forty-minute stints from Lee Mossop and new recruit Gil Dudson in the first half.
Half-back duo Jackson Hastings and Rob Lui both left the field midway through the second half with Mark Flanagan, Joey Lussick and Niall Evalds jumping into the halves. Salford’s try-scoring form didn’t slow down, and the Red Devils continued to look smooth in the absence of a permanent half-back.
The crowd 
On a cold January afternoon fans of both Salford Red Devils and Swinton Lions braved the conditions to watch their sides putting together a solid showing for a pre-season friendly with 1798 people in attendance.
Salford vs Swinton is a fixture – that was Head Coach Ian Watson pointed out earlier in the week – doesn’t happen too often anymore so it has become somewhat of a sought-after attraction. Our Betfred Championship visitors brought a strong following down the road to the The Salford Stadium this weekend while our loyal Red Devils were in fine voice as always showing the passion for the game in the local area.
Next weekend, the Red Devils host another local side in Wigan Warriors, and we’ll be hoping for a similarly strong turnout.

Tickets for Salford Red Devils’ next pre-season friendly are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online HERE. For a reminder of ticket prices, click HERE.Salford Red Devils 2019 Season Tickets are still available to purchase from the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online HERE. You can spread the cost via Direct Debit payments, for more details, click HERE.

Ian Watson | “I thought we looked quite smooth”

Salford Red Devils got 2019 off to a great start with a 54-6 victory over local rivals Swinton Lions and Head Coach Ian Watson was pleased with various aspects of his side’s performance.

On the game…

I thought it was a good performance and we did what we’ve worked on in the pre-season. We got out of our own half a little bit too easily as we got quite a few penalties on tackle three. I’d have like to see a little more of an arm-wrestle to see more of what we have worked on. But everything that was put in front of the boys they reacted really well to especially when we were making all the changes to mix it up a bit people got plenty of game time.

On adapting following the changes…

I thought we looked quite smooth even when Jackson [Hastings] and Rob [Lui] came off and we put Niall [Evalds] into the halves. We’ve done a bit of practice in training running with different combinations just in case anything happens. We know we’ve got a small squad, but we’ve got players who can play in different positions and that was on show for us against Swinton. 

On Connor Davies-Aspey’s debut…

I was really pleased for him. He’s a baby, to be fair, and I thought he did great. He made a couple of breaks and a little bit of inexperience cost him from making a try for Jansin [Turgut] but he created a nice try for Derrell [Olpherts]. I’m sure he’ll be telling everyone about nearly getting his ribs knocked out as well, but I thought it was great for a young kid to come in and do that.

On fellow triallist – Calvin Wellington…

Calvin did really well coming in at left centre. He has the ability to play on both sides and he transfers the ball really well, but he suits us with him not having a preference as to which side he plays on.

On the players who didn’t feature…

All going well they should be included next weekend against Wigan. With the game being a little different at the moment with the stop clock we wanted our middles to get decent minutes and get used to how it feels to be under the pump and play under the stop clock. That’s why we didn’t make a change in the first half and then let the middles run for a full forty in the second half, also.

On how the players handled the stop clock…

We’ve got players here who are big enough and fit enough to play long minutes if you look at the first half, we had Mark Flanagan, Lee Mossop and Gil Dudson who all did a full forty and handled it really comfortably.

On the stop clock…

It flowed a lot better today. I thought the first ten minutes went really quickly, it used to take a long time to get to the ten-minute mark in some games but today I thought the stop clock helped today and it sped the game up. My thing with it was when you’re watching a game on Sky Sports, they were finishing way beyond 10pm and the game was getting dragged out longer and longer, but I think the stop clock kind of drags that back in really rather than it being stop-start. Hopefully, it’ll make the Betfred Super League more entertaining.

On goal kicking…

No, we’ve no issues there. Ed [Chamberlain] practices religiously so we’ve not got much of a problem with that. It was fairly windy when Ed was out there kicking today. The good thing is last year I don’t think we had a single goal kicker for the majority but now we’ve got a handful of genuine goal kickers – Ed, Jackson, Rob, Joey [Lussick] and Niall likes to put a kick in every now and again. So, we’ve no worries in that department.
Tickets for Salford Red Devils’ next pre-season friendly are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online HERE. For a reminder of ticket prices, click HERE.
Salford Red Devils 2019 Season Tickets are still available to purchase from the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online HERE. You can spread the cost via Direct Debit payments, for more details, click HERE.

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